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A respected medical journal is distancing itself from a controversial study it published that established a link between abortion and mental illness. The study, which appeared in the Journal of Psychiatric Research in 2009, suggested that pregnancy termination can cause post-traumatic stress, disorder, anxiety, depression and even drug addiction, reports Reuters. Now the journal’s editors are dubbing the research “flawed,” saying it “does not support assertions that abortions led to psychopathology.”
The study’s author, Priscilla Coleman, a professor of human development and family studies at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, used data from a Harvard University co-morbidity study of mental illness in the United States to establish her link between abortion and mental illness. The Guttmacher Institute of California, which studied the same data, questioned whether Coleman had actually established what came first in the test subjects — the abortion or the mental illness. “Determining the ‘effects of abortion’ is not possible unless it can be established that the diagnoses occurred after the abortion,” said Julia Steinberg, a researcher at the University of California, San Francisco. “For many women, psychiatric illnesses occurred before the abortion,” she said.